Robinson: With Donald Trump and this election, it feels ominously like 2016 all over again

Robinson in The Guardian:

Donald Trump is not a competent president but he is a terrifyingly effective one, as the 2020 RNC proved once again. The central lesson of 2016 for Democrats should have been: do not underestimate Trump, and do not take his general ignorance as a lack of political skill. Worryingly, this lesson does not seem to have been fully absorbed, and there are eerie similarities between the present election and the one four years ago. I’m getting deja vu, and I don’t like it.

The good news for Democrats is that Joe Biden is ahead in the polls. The bad news is that Hillary Clinton was also ahead in the polls. Biden’s lead may be sliding in critical states, and some estimates show him underperforming Clinton in the critical state of Wisconsin. Biden’s overall margin over Trump is greater than Clinton’s was at her peak. But FiveThirtyEight reports, troublingly, that “there are also nine states where Biden’s margin over Trump is smaller than Clinton’s was at this point in the campaign,” including “many Rust Belt battleground states”.

The political circumstances should be incredibly favorable for a challenger: nearly 200,000 people are dead in a crisis caused in large part by the president’s personal incompetence, and the economy has collapsed. The Democratic candidate should be winning in a landslide. The fact that it might be close shows a serious failure of leadership.

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